Gransnet forums

AIBU expect not to pay this bill?

(28 Posts)
Luckygirl Sun 29-Jul-18 09:21:10

Our toilet has been troublesome for some time - flushes, then paper comes sailing back in a sea of brown water, which makes the toilet very hard to clean. After several months of trying to find an available local plumber, I looked online and found "Local Heroes", who said they find plumbers/electricians/gardeners etc. in your locality.

I filled in the drop-down boxes outlining what we needed and they offered me someone to come the next day and the cost would be £94 including VAT. Knowing that plumbers can be expensive, I agreed to this.

Next day a man arrives - it turns out he has driven from a long distance (so not "local" then) and he is from Dynorod. He pokes around and says there is no manhole to this toilet and he will have to create a way in via the cistern (It's just a small plastic bit) - he tells my OH (who has PD) that it will cost £180, and (when I was out of the room) OH agrees to this! He then does his poking around and informs us that the problem does not lie with the drain but with the cistern and we need a plumber, which is what I asked for in the first place! He says he does not know how to do it!

He then informs us that with VAT, the bill will be £216. So, here we are being asked to pay £216 and the problem remains.

I got back to Local Heroes and had a number of phone conversations with them. They maintain that they sent DynoRod because I said the toilet was blocked - in fact I did tick that item in the drop-down box because there was no other relevant option.

I then had a call from DynoRod themselves, who said they would talk to the boss and get back to me, which they have not done. In the meantime I have been inundated by requests for this bill to be paid.

My argument with them is that I cannot be expected to know the cause of the problem (I am neither a plumber nor a drainage engineer) and that LH chose to send a drain person who knows nothing about cisterns and their workings, leaving us in this mess. When I knew that it was Dynorod coming I looked them up online and noted that they call themselves plumbing and drainage experts so I assumed that this would be fine - but when I tackled DynoRod on this they said that the two arms of the business are separate - but how could I have known this?

What to do?

Poppyred Sun 29-Jul-18 09:35:23

Do not pay! Call trading standards on Monday!

Luckygirl Sun 29-Jul-18 09:41:29

Ah - that is a good idea!! Thanks.

merlotgran Sun 29-Jul-18 09:48:53

Luckygirl, DH says have you tried tipping a bucket of water down to flush the loo instead of using the cistern? If it solves the problem then it could be that the cistern is not providing enough water to do a proper flush. It should be easy to get bits replaced inside a cistern.

If the problem persists it's obviously a blockage in the drain somewhere. There has to be a manhole somewhere.

I wouldn't pay them a penny until the problem is solved.

jusnoneed Sun 29-Jul-18 09:50:37

No you're NBU! Good idea to call Trading Standards.
DynoRod are one of the biggest con merchants out there. I know of a couple of people they have fleeced, one being my Dads elderly widowed neighbour!

And Local Heroes should be ashamed of using a nationwide company too, that goes against their title. Surely they should be using small local plumbers etc.

gillybob Sun 29-Jul-18 09:51:58

I don’t think you should pay either Lucky you didn’t get what you asked for and the price was inflated from what you were quoted too. I think they are clearly trying it on. I agree with poppy that you should call trading standards . Do you have a Check-A-Trade service in your area ? I’ve used them for a few things and never had a problem . You can read their reviews before you hire them too . Good luck . smile

MissAdventure Sun 29-Jul-18 09:59:27

My mum phoned what she thought was a local company as her front door was 'catching'.
Some of the mechanisms that slide into place when it was locked were not working properly.
When I got round there, they had sent a locksmith as an emergency, so there was a big call out charge, and all the man could do was a bodge job to allow it close a little easier.
The man had been called away in the middle of another job, and was as irate as I was when I questioned whether we should pay.
I phoned up the company my mum had called, and found the same set up.

annsixty Sun 29-Jul-18 10:06:51

Local Heroes are affiliated to British Gas, if not actually owned by them.
They guarantee satisfactory work until the job is done,
Dynarod also part of BG, go to them and complain on their website.

Jane10 Sun 29-Jul-18 10:07:03

Be careful though. Unpaid bills could go to debt collecting agencies and affect your credit rating. Go to trading standards but also write officially to the company to say that you are doing that. Good luck.
Are you in the country btw? Do you have a septic tank?

gillybob Sun 29-Jul-18 10:11:14

On a practical level . Have you tried pouring a bucket of water while flushing ? It can “force the flush” on a temp basis .

merlotgran Sun 29-Jul-18 10:26:46

I said that upthread, gilly

gillybob Sun 29-Jul-18 10:34:34

Oops sorry about that merlot I was just talking to DH about this thread and mentioned our loo at work (terrible flush) and it popped into my head without checking previous posts properly . smile

Luckygirl Sun 29-Jul-18 10:37:08

Thanks for all this folks. I will contact British Gas.

merlotgran Sun 29-Jul-18 10:38:19

No probs, gilly smile

Fennel Sun 29-Jul-18 11:18:38

That's ridiculous!
Did you sign an agreement to pay or was it just verbal?
And as Jane10 says write to the company to say what you're doing and why.

grannyactivist Sun 29-Jul-18 11:31:31

It is harder to get money back than it is to get the bill adjusted before payment. I would most definitely not be paying. The job has been assessed and a decision has been made that the work is outwith their capabilities.
From money saving expert:
What if something goes wrong?
British Gas has said that it will back all work carried out and parts fitted through Local Heroes for a period of 12 months from the date the work is completed.
If something does go wrong within this period, the supplier has said it will find you another tradesperson to fix any issues.

The CEO of British Gas who is responsible for the Local Heroes arm of the business is Mark Hodges. I would email him directly at: [email protected]

starbird Sun 29-Jul-18 11:41:36

In the long term I think you need to find the manhole - I hope it is not under a patio or decking. Unless yours is a detached property it could be in a neighbour’s garden, in which case their deeds will say you have right of access - in any case if you have a problem they might be having a problem too. If/when the fault is diagnosed, you may also have to talk about who is to blame and sharing the cost. It could be that a brick or other debris is blocking the pipe. I hope you are on good terms with each other .....

HAZBEEN Sun 29-Jul-18 12:02:52

Be very wary of companies like Check a Trade and Trust a Trader. Reviews are often censored and some of these types of websites only post tradesman who have paid to be on the site. They really are only adverts. The best way to find a good tradesman is by word of mouth, talking to friends and neighbours who have had work done and can say forst hand the work was done properly.

Luckygirl Sun 29-Jul-18 12:10:01

Thanks gilly - you are a genius - Mark Hodges has an email on its way to him! As do Trading Standards.

I am grateful to all of you for your help and advice.

HAZBEEN - we tried to get someone local from word of mouth but to no avail - people simply did not get back to us.

Elegran Sun 29-Jul-18 12:26:58

My upstairs loo has always had a very bad flush - actually the problem is that it takes for ever to fill up again. The water entering and leaving the main storage tank to refill the cistern would trickle annoyingly away for an hour, and then start up again of its own accord a bit later, and again and again 24 hours a day.

Three different plumbers tried to fix it, with a new washer (no) another type of ball-cock (no) and replacing the new ball-cock with yet a third version (no). I decided it must be because the main tank is not much higher than the cistern and I would have to put up with it.

Then I tried removing the lid of the (empty) cistern and poured in two bucketfuls of water just before flushing - success. I refilled it with the bucket and left it ready forl the next time - when it was empty again!

It is obvious to me now that there is some fault in the fit of the washer and the hole through which the water goes down into the bowl, and it has always been there. Almost as fast as it fills, the water leaks out into the bowl and the cistern has to fill up again.

So I have jammed the inlet to the cistern, left the lid off, and keep a bucket in the bath. Each morning I fill the cistern with the bucket and give it a good flush. No more annoying trickling sounds keeping me awake all night.

Fennel Sun 29-Jul-18 12:39:30

We had a toilet like that Elegran. Apart from the annoying noise, it uses a lot of water and puts your bill up.

Elegran Sun 29-Jul-18 12:54:17

I am thinking of getting that bathroom completely altered, with a new loo, a shower instead of a bath, and a new basin, but while that was being done it would be sensible to move the main tank moved up into the loft - which is full of junk to be sorted out, and has a ladder which terrifies me. The radiator would have to be moved to put a shower in the only corner without a sloping ceiling. I am not even sure I can find a shower to fit. Somehow I think I shall just have to keep filling the cistern with the bucket until I am too old to stay in the house anyway. Then I shall unjam the cistern filler pipe and let the new owners worry about it.

Nonnie Sun 29-Jul-18 13:36:50

If the loo is emptying then filling again I think it sounds more like a blockage somewhere after the loo pan.

No one seems to have suggested you Tweet and Facebook them, this sometimes gets them to act.

Elegran Sun 29-Jul-18 13:48:09

You get bottles of stuff for unblocking drains - that might clear it.

Luckygirl Sun 29-Jul-18 13:55:39

I am considering the Facebook/Twitter route, but wanted to give them the chance to do the decent thing first.